WHICH P IS BEST FOR YOU? Identify the Right Business Model and Fulfillment Strategy for Amazon [Velocity Amazon Strategy Series]

Written by Christa Klausner 

As you can imagine, there are many pros and cons to consider when identifying the right fulfillment strategy on Amazon.  There may not be a right or wrong answer, but each brand has a “best answer” scenario:

  • As a 1P (first-party) Vendor, brands and manufactures sell product directly to Amazon at wholesale prices, and Amazon resells the product to the consumer at a marked-up price – much like traditional retailers.
  • As a 3P (third-party) Seller, brands, manufactures, resellers and distributors sell product on Amazon directly to consumers through the Amazon marketplace.
  • A Hybrid model allows businesses to implement both 1P and 3P across their product catalog.

As a 1P Vendor, you have limited control over the sell price and inventory levels, however Amazon handles a majority of the responsibility on the backend including fulfillment to the customer, returns, customer service. 1P is typically more ideal for brands with richer margins.

As a 3P Seller, you have significantly more control over price and inventory levels, however you handle for all backend responsibilities (that is unless you participate in Fulfillment By Amazon). 3P allows you to maintain control of the full supply chain but can be difficult to scale if there are others selling the same product. Also, with 3P, there are restrictions to which Amazon channels 3P Sellers can sell on, restrictions on available marketing programs and placements, and hurdles to winning the Buy Box (more on winning the Buy Box to come later in this series).

With a Hybrid model, businesses are able to supplement additional available inventory for any inaccurate Amazon demand forecasts as well as leverage 3P for pricing terms and negotiations. Hybrid models are often used to build demand for newly launched products that Amazon or other retailers may not yet take.

As outlined by CPC Strategy, there are multiple fulfillment models for Vendors and Sellers.

A quick audit of your internal capabilities and the setup of your warehouse logistics will help determine which business model and fulfillment options are available to you and which are ideal to implement in your current structure. Note, it is possible to move from 3P to 1P and vice versa.

To summarize, 1P and 3P FBA provides the largest opportunity for volume and scale by increasing chances to win the Buy Box, however 3P provides the highest level of control over price and inventory.  

#VelocityKnowsAmazon

At Velocity, we have a simple framework that can help you assess if 1P, 3P or a Hybrid model is right for you. Please reach out to Christa Klausner or Rami Odeh if you are interested in hearing more about Amazon fulfillment or how Velocity can help you get up and running on Amazon.

CES 2019: A Clearer Picture of Our Future

Written by: Joe Scartz 

Last week, Las Vegas was the center of the digital universe, as The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held.  Every year, we see astonishing new technology meant to change the lives of people and provide brands new ways to engage with consumers and shoppers.  This year was no different.

The convergence of Personalized, Predictive, Assistive, and Seamlessexperiences was the story at CES; all of the underpinnings are there.

In and of itself there was plenty of innovation…but dare I say, there was no one BIG THING.  And that’s OK.  In fact, maybe that’s better.

As the VELOCITY team walked the floors and had meetings, we found there to be a general, integrated march to personalized experiences that are predictive, assistive and seamless, a confluence of technologies, products and innovations helped to create this story.

In fact, we learned something much bigger than the event itself—it became evident that our lives as human beings really are going to be appreciably different in positive ways over the next five years.

It’s not just about how the myriad technologies work together (life is not just OLED 8K TVs or AI or 5G or IOT, although those technologies were all there in spades) in and of themselves; it’s how they are adapting to fit into our lives in new and exciting ways and in broad strokes.

What the Future Looks Like

To truly understand what that means, let’s first address the technology and trends (check out the links to get a deeper dive):

  1. AI as a lifestyle – Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa were truly the slugfest of the show and were both everywhere and integrated into everything.
  2. 8K OLED foldable screens
  3. 5G will rollout and be available to homes in certain areas in 2019 and more noticeably in 2020
  4. Self-driving autonomous commercial and consumer vehicles
  5. AI-driven and functional robots that provide real assistance
  6. Smart Health devices that integrate data into wider ecosystems
  7. Baby tech and sleep technology were sub themes.
  8. Smarter Homes and increased focus on automation – like a refrigerator that actually recognizes its content
  9. The collapse of walled garden (Apple Homekit on LG and Samsung TVs)

These technologies working in tandem create four themes that point to future:

  1. faster connected world than we’ve ever seen before (5G) where you access information/experiences dramatically faster than previously imagined (a movie in seconds anyone?).
  2. Screens will be more beautiful and “flexible,”delivering delightful experiences and creating new pleasurable interactions with AI, whether through flat screen, foldable screens, AR or VR.
  3. AI devices are as ubiquitous as connected devices are. Alexa and Google Assistant smart speakers and integrated devices are the fastest growing technology since the smart phone.  That means instant answers, instant content, instant home automation, automated automotive, integrated health and based on how these devices learn and adapt, completely personal experiences controlled by voice.  Imagine a world where Google Assistant automates your home’s morning, plots your drive, reminds you when you need lettuce and automatically orders it for you—all the while figuring out how to help you best next.
  4. Technology will aid and support our health.Robots will monitor and help the elderly and sick.   For example, robots watch and report falling episodes and connected devices monitor vital signs to allow for blanket coverage for the elderly and are regular in communication with remote caregivers.

Technology is getting smarter, more automated, more assistive and in doing that is getting more invisible and that is the story of 2019.  The implications on brands and retailers is wide ranging because as technology changes expectations, consumers will evolve their demands with those companies with whom they transact.

What do you think?  Did I miss anything you saw at CES?  Shoot me a note on Twitter and let me know.

MAKING WHOLE FOODS AND AMAZON TRULY WHOLE? FOLLOW THE DATA

Written by: Rami Odeh

 

When you work for Amazon, you rely on two decision-making maxims for everything you do.

First, you must test and gather data.

Second, you must make decisions based on that data.

With the recent announcement that Amazon will expand Whole Foods reach and create new locations, Amazon’s leadership followed this model to a tee.

This is a decision based on what the data was telling people, and people are saying that they want more touchpoints for Whole Foods’ products.  Recently, I wrote an article for Love of Retail  highlighting how predictive artificial intelligence (AI) can impact manufacturers and brands.  Here is a great example of how the data and AI are coming together to create a solution that benefits so many stakeholders.

Amazon and Whole Foods are creating greater access for products sold in the stores.  By having more physical locations, it entrenches more locations for Prime Now customers to get products delivered when and where they want it. But the VELOCITY team sees other opportunities.

Amazon is using the data to solve for supply chain efficiencies on the back end through their confidence in their data. Amazon did not specifically reduce the number of options the customer has, but it is reducing the number of vendors providing those options.

What’s more, this “clean-up in Aisle 7” is a signal that something bigger could be in store (pun intended).  something very different is on the horizon.

At VELOCITY, we believe that the level of efficiency that Amazon is creating on a cost and logistical level indicates that it is paving the way for next-level of ordering, utilizing predictive analytics.  Amazon is going to focus on efficiencies and create an unmatched customer fulfillment model, which in turn will provide savings and convenience to the customers never before seen  in the grocery category.

Although this will seem very new, we’re confident that when managed properly, and mirroring the clear methods that have worked for success on Amazon’s platform in the past, brands and manufacturers have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a bold brand presence within Amazon’s new system, and dominate market share within their categories.

Reach out to us with any questions on how to be prepared for the coming changes. Let us know on Twitter…or send an email to either Rami Odeh or Christa Klausner.

I resolve to sell my product on Amazon in 2019 – WHERE TO BEGIN [Velocity Amazon Strategy Series]

Author: Christa Klausner

Is launching your product on Amazon on your list of New Year’s resolutions? Or is optimizing your brand’s presence on Amazon part of your 2019 eCommerce road map? If not, it should be.

According to eMarketer, Amazon’s online sales grew nearly 30% in 2018, outpacing total US retail ecommerce’s growth by 16%. What’s more, Amazon took almost half the share of retail ecommerce sales in the US. And 2019 is looking even bigger. Let’s make sure you get a part of that pie.

Success on Amazon is highly dependent upon understanding its inner workings, knowing what they expect from you, properly setting up your internal operations and logistics and strategically leveraging the tools available to vendors and sellers.

In a new series of articles we will be sharing with everyone, we outline various tools, processes and considerations for either launching or optimizing on Amazon.

Where to Begin?

Conducting an audit of your current presence and of the competitive landscape will give you a view into the current situation on the platform and can help identify specific opportunities for launch or optimization.

  • Who is your competition? It might be different than you think.
  • Insight on your competition. Where, what and how they are selling.
  • Current ASIN performance. What areas can immediately be improved?

New to Amazon?

Gathering information from the competitive landscape will help you make important launch decisions once you get a bit further along in the process including. Details including category selection, price, marketing and merchandising, product listings, content, pack types and selling channels, are a few of the important criteria to evaluate when auditing the landscape.

If are you already selling on Amazon…

If you have already launched on Amazon, conducting an Amazon Product HealthScoreTM(PHS) can help identify specific areas to focus on in order to improve your Amazon brand presence, product awareness, traffic and overall conversion. Velocity’sPHS is a proprietary process that takes a quantitative and qualitative analysis of an individual SKU’s health on Amazon. The process analyzes creative, SEO, inventory management, third-party sellers and merchandising & marketing, and assigns a score to each area, on a 5-point scale. The lowest scoring areas identify the immediate areas of opportunity for improvement.

Evaluate CONSTANTLY

Conducting a PHS on a monthly basis can provide an ongoing look at your individual ASINs performance and continuously provide insight for areas for improvement.

Competitive audits should be conducted monthly or quarterly in order to stay on top of the rapidly changing landscape on Amazon.

Velocity Knows Amazon

Velocity currently conducts competitive audits and Amazon Product Health Score for a variety of clients at varying cadence. Please reach out to either Christa Klausner or Rami Odeh so you can learn more about what YOUR health score is.

Amazon’s Customer-centric Evolution—What Amazon’s predictive AI means to Manufacturers and Brands

Author: Rami Odeh 

We already know Amazon is a customer-centric company, and quite possibly the most customer-centric company in modern day history.

Amazon prides itself on focusing on the customer—period.  But even now, the company is evolving into something…more. Recent changes and announcements from Amazon indicate that the next era for Amazon is approaching—or in some cases, already here—focusing on predictive AI feeding its efficiency and profitability.

Let’s be honest, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, is a visionary with a master plan and that somewhere in his R&D department, predictive ordering will be coming very soon.

Huh? Said differently, Amazon’s artificial I intelligence (AI) will use past data to predict your future needs.

Bezos Knows You More Than You Do.

Amazon knows its customers VERY well.  Some would argue that Amazon’s data on its customers is unmatched to any other company (or even any government agency).  Amazon’s AI has reached a point where it is able to make some bold moves based on the confidence of their data.   Amazon not only will predict what a customer will order before they even think about it, this predictive AI is essentially picking which products and ultimately brands will succeed before they even launch!

In other words, Amazon has so much confidence in its ability to predict the future, they will be able to tell brands notto launch products, and what products customers actually want before it even happens.  This can have some huge implications for brands in terms of production, demand planning, research and development, and even finances.  A brand can spend tons of money on R&D or production, only to find out that one of their main selling channels is rejecting the product because its predictive abilities already know the product will fail. Let that soak in for a second.

This ultimately means that Amazon is less of a level playing field for all sellers, and products success will be determined through predictive AI.  Evidence of Amazon’s confidence in their predictive AI can be found in the following events that lead us to believe that the is time is now.

Amazon Apple deal–  Apple is selling on Amazon directly, and Amazon is removing other distributors from selling Apple products.

Amazon One Vendor– Amazon is approaching supply chain in a new way where they are dictating if a brand will be a vendor or seller. 

Amazon CRaP Clean-Up– Amazon removing CRaP items from its catalogue, forcing manufacturers to refresh packaging, and kill production of less successful products.

Why AI?

We are entering an era where Amazon’s technology and algorithms are starting to do the thinking for the customer—as opposed to a customer having to choose brands, products and sellers on her own.  Amazon is confident with its own data to dictate products, pack types, sellers, vendors, fulfillment and even brands to be sold on its site.

Some would say that Amazon is going to a more traditional retailer model; I would argue that Amazon is doing its best Walmart meets The Matrix mash-up to create a mass retailer model that is infused with technology and data.

The bottom line?  Amazon has reached a point of confidence in their predictive AI where they are able to make supply chain decisions for manufacturers, and fulfillment methods in the name of customer-centricity.

Velocity. believes that there is common ground where Amazon, the customer, and a manufacturer can profit.  Want to talk about what you can do to be on top of the upcoming changes?  Reach out to us here with questions.

“TALK” ABOUT A BUSY HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON— V-COMMERCE JUST GETTING STARTED. ARE YOU READY?

Author: Joe Scartz

We are already anticipating the largest digital commerce holiday shopping season of all time this year. Digital Commerce is set to account for $123.73 million out of the roughly $1 trillion dollars that will spend this holiday season at retail, according to eMarketer.

Voice, while a fractional amount of that total currently, is accounted for in the digital commerce number. The question is…how big can voice commerce (v-commerce) grow in the years to come and what should brands and manufacturers do about it?

 

The Landscape Today

Today, voice commerce is benefitting from broad adoption of software and hardware platforms and tools that enable voice shopping. At VELOCITY., we divide this software and hardware into four primary categories: The voice assistant powering the experience (distributed through various devices), the pervasive smart phone, smart speakers, and IOT as a category.

The Voice Assistant

The four major AI players are Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri and Cortana. Nearly half of U.S. adults use voice assistants on their smartphones, but also through IOT, laptops, tablets, cars and various other devices. Siri is the most widely used due to the iPhone followed by Alexa, Google Assistant and then Cortana. However, Amazon and Google clearly lead in proliferation and usage of smart speakers (Echo and Google Home specifically).  More on that  in a moment..

The Smartphone

We all know that the smartphone has reached critical mass (particularly in developed countries). What is important for v-commerce is that AI and voice assistants are being embedded into the user experience on these phones more seamlessly. Siri integration was a major component of ios 12. Earlier in 2018, Google announced that 95% of Android phones will  be reached by Google Assistant. Clearly the two biggest players in the smartphone world want their assistant to be the center of your relationship with their hardware and software.

The Smart Speaker

It is anticipated that the Google Home and Amazon Echo (all variations) will be two of the hottest selling items this holiday season and throughout 2019. As of June, 2018 20% of U.S. households own a smart speaker and Deloitte expects 63% growth next year globally.

 

The Prospects for Growth

As we have seen, the technology and the platforms for continued growth in voice are established. So, what are the commerce opportunities for voice?

Some firms have predicted that voice will grow to $40 billion dollars in the U.S. and U.K. by 2022. This is significant, when you consider that those two countries are leading nations in adoption of voice globally. Therefore, brands need to be prepared. In a world where one or a firm search results on Amazon or Google, or even Siri could limit your brand exposure, optimizing for voice today; not tomorrow, is your best bet. Measure your voice readiness on a brand-by-brand and product-by-product basis now. The future of search and brand engagement via voice has arrived.

Celebrating another Year

I have always loved being a 4th of July baby — guaranteed fireworks! But with each passing year, I’m more aware of our cultural obsession with aging. Anti-aging, literally speaking, is synonymous with dying. My dad used to say when asked about getting older, “It beats the alternative.” I reflect on this topic today, both as a marketer and as one being marketed to, on the cusp of turning another year older.

 

Fearing death is natural. So is not being thrilled with a gray hair or a new line around your eyes. What’s different now than in the past is the sheer volume of products and industries that are literally banking on our collective fear of getting old.

 

The billion-dollar Beauty industry leads the pack with its lotions and potions, tonics, serums, oils, ‘injectables,’ and scads of surgeries that all carry with them promises of looking younger and regaining what you have most certainly lost. Women’s magazines peddle exaggerated before-and-after makeovers, and several times a year, the infamous “Beauty at Any Age” issue — which I remember not so long ago stopped at the 40’s…. Vanity is one thing (and it’s healthy to have some), but the way we market and are marketed to with beauty products plays less on our vanity and much more on a fear of getting old and irrelevant.

 

The Health & Wellness world is cashing in, as well. Vitamins and elixirs, IVs, diets, smoothies, fasts, workout plans and machines and gadgets — all of it practically guarantees you will stay exactly as you are, right now, if you just sign on! Truly healthy lifestyles that include eating well and exercising regularly are the only real “fountains of youth,” and should be embraced for making us look and feel good and for protecting the quality of our lives. But even good health won’t make you a year younger on your next birthday.

 

The Fashion industry also capitalizes on the body shame and loathing that can accompany getting older, especially for women. There are garments that hold you in here, or make you look more round there. Designs and styles meant to make you look and feel more like your younger self … or your younger daughter.

 

So what? All of those things make people feel better, so what’s the problem? To me, the problem is that there needs to be some grace and sensibility to the whole aging game and it needs to be reflected in the products, promises, and marketing of the things geared to the aging public. And right now, not only is a lot of the messaging off-key, there isn’t a lot of it geared toward the 50+ market, in the first place. There is a real opportunity to reframe the offerings and messages to ones that empower this incredible 50+ demographic, which accounts for 50% of all consumer expenditures and spends $3.2 trillion annually! https://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-bradbury/the-7-incredible-facts-about-boomers-spending_b_6815876.html

 

And along with better products and messages, we need to keep our own healthy perspective. I am lucky to have around me healthy, personal role models who bring grace to aging, starting with my beautiful mother, an octogenarian who takes incredible care of herself and is very young at heart. Same goes for my older friends, in their 60s and 70s, who are living exciting, healthy lives that honor growing older vs. disparaging it (you know who you are and thank you!).

 

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not giving up my gym membership, fancy eye creams, or vitamins. But I want to shift my focus away from what you lose as you age to what you gain — more wisdom, self-acceptance, and gratitude for what you have. I want products and services to appeal to the active, involved, healthy person I am and continue to be, and not to a 50-something relic who needs constant improvements!

 

Living past our youthful prime is a privilege. There must be a way to do it that isn’t full of fear and the rather ungrateful desire to anti-age.

Finding Humanity In An Era Of Change

A perspective from Cannes 2018

By Sharon Love – CEO, TPN

 

Awards for Creativity. Big data. Provocative speakers. Branded beaches. Yachts, parties, concerts, and rose… Some aspects have remained the same over time but the annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity has definitely undergone some change—even in the four short years I’ve attended. Beyond the greater presence of big media platforms and the continuing corporate dynamic, there felt to me, this year, a shift in the posture of our industry. A humbling pivot that’s put many marketers in a defensive position. And for good reason. In a moment of transparency concerns, a tech explosion, and the fight for equality and inclusion, how does an agency or brand survive and thrive? The answer may be to rediscover our humanity.

 

Embracing the human spirit in creativity

The list of jobs gobbled up by robots grows each year. And today it seems feasible that new technology, big data, and in-house creative shops may replace the “agency” as we’ve known it to date. Angela Ahrendts—formerly CEO of Burberry, currently SVP, Retail, Apple— went on the offensive at Cannes during her panel “Reimagining the Retail Experience” championing the value of “the human business” with regards to technology, the digital boom, and the future of retail. She acknowledged the importance of technology (she works for Apple, after all!) but was purposely focused on the need for the human touch. At TPN, we share her opinion that retail isn’t dying, it’s merely changing. That truth was complemented in another great panel, “The Not So Secret Life of Creatives”, where they discussed how Pinterest lets you play in a virtual world to generate ideas that you later cultivate in the offline world. My takeaway? Those of us that adapt the most efficiently and find that right balance of man-and-machine will win moving forward.

 

Seeing each other human-to-human

As marketers, an important part of what we owe our clients is a clear delineation of who their target audience is. No one today should be wasting time or money marketing to the wrong person, even slightly. Data has made us more accurate, in a lot of ways. But as I listened to Faith Popcorn’s session, “The Death of Masculinity and its Impact on Creativity”, I was reminded of the limitations of big data. Her take on the constant blurring definitions of masculinity and femininity, and beyond, cannot be captured in data. It’s too nuanced and shifting. Perhaps one way to ensure we’re connecting with our audience in the right ways is to view them as people as opposed to males, females or other gender labels. That would allow us to avoid offensive or alienating stereotypes. Wherever we can, we should ask ourselves how we’d like to be approached by a brand—as a woman? As a man? Or perhaps just as a person of certain interests. That theme seemed to align well with the message Seth Farbman (CMO, Spotify) sent at his panel “Creativity in the Age of Resistance”. He highlighted the voice they give to artists to make positive change—with themes of inclusivity and acceptance of all rising to the top. Seth stressed that using Spotify’s platform for positive change has become “an obligation”. The nature of your brand or platform, of course, figures largely into your ability to deliver this promise. But overall, the thought of steering clear of any level of stereotype and bias is a smart one for the times.

 

Fulfilling the equality promise

Many sessions focused on eliminating bias from our business—both in our internal company structures and in our work. The argument for gender and racial equality as a business imperative has been talked about for a long time and now there is conclusive evidence that companies who have a diverse workforce and leadership team deliver better results than those who do not. Early in the discussions about the importance of diversity, the moral imperative for equality had to take a back seat to business to get all the people who needed to hear it onboard. So why are some brands so slow to act on this and clean up their act? I just saw on Facebook this morning an old friend bemoaning the back of her (unnamed here) breakfast cereal box. It was a heartland story of where the grains had been raised for the cereal and featured the family of farmers who had grown it—there was not ONE female in the picture! It was kind of shocking. But there is reason for hope that the cereal box debacle will be a thing of the past. At one of my favorite panels, “Agents of Change”, featuring Katie Couric, Queen Latifah, Madonna Badger, and Mark Pritchard—they shared that though 29% of ads still portray women negatively or inappropriately, that number is down from 51% just two years ago. It seems like the hard work is beginning to pay off. As Omnicom’s Chief Diversity Officer, Tiffany R. Warren stated in her panel “Diversity—a Values Issue and Business Imperative”: “Diverse teams mean diverse thinking. We need representation in front of and behind the camera at every level, so we can normalize what used to be marginalized.”

 

Applying the good in tech

The power to ‘do good’ using data & technology is very exciting—both as a human being and as a marketer. One compelling session I attended, entitled “Androids, AI and the Future of Creativity” touted a function of new technology as a way for humans to understand what it really means to be human—when you interact with a robot, you begin to appreciate the things it can’t do that a human can. But the flip side (the dark side, if you will) of what data & technology have already wrought is concerning. We need good and responsible data and tech to win the day. Simply vilifying data/tech as bad (taking our jobs way!) or dangerous (destroying our privacy, rigging our elections) is to ignore all of the good it can do, and has done. The opportunity to connect our audiences with relevant, uplifting, and helpful content has never been greater. Our customers look to us to provide helpful information. It’s a great responsibility. But as we work to utilize the ever-expanding network of data, and the power of platforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram plus technology like AI, machine learning, and Voice, we need to (somehow) avoid fueling the increasing dependence our audiences have on mobile and social media as personal validation. As Scott Hagedorn, Chief Executive of Hearts & Science pointed out, it’s led to a rise in depression and anxiety (not to mention a polarizing political divide unlike anything we’ve ever seen). It will take human understanding and intervention to help brands utilize the power of data and technology in a transparent, positive, and ethical manner. And the ones who do so will win the ongoing trust of consumers.

 

For an industry a bit on its heels, the unity, positivity, and human spirit in the air at Cannes was palpable. Hopefully, as marketers, creators, thinkers, and—most importantly—humans, we continue to respect the huge responsibility we have to the brands and consumers we serve and harness our platforms and power to make real change, for good.

Mobile World Congress 2018

In many ways, this year’s Mobile World Congress was an evolution, not a revolution, but none-the-less the show provided a very important peak into the not-too-distant future of mobile experiences and connectivity. Here are a few of the highlights:

5G:  Like the past couple of years MWC was highly focused on what a 5G future will look like. The promise of an ultra-fast and reliable mobile network like 5G is easier to envision when you consider that 5G is estimated to be more than 10X faster than current 4G networks. In essence, that means consumers will be able to download a full-length HD movie in less than a minute. More importantly, it means that all of the technology advances we are currently being promised like smart cities, autonomous vehicle fleets, IOT, OTT 4k / 8k video services, and rich AR/VR experiences will find a home beyond WIFI, and that is critically important if we are to move a distributed experience society.  The big news in 5G is that we now have dates for its gradual rollout. Sprint announced that it will be bringing 5G networks to six cities (Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston) by April, and T-Mobile announced that it will begin building out 5G across 30 cities this year.

AI:  Artificial Intelligence is the buzzword that can’t quit giving and that was rather evident at MWC 2018. Still, there is some truth in the marketing spin around AI, even on the trade floor. The latest Samsung flagship smartphones (the S9 and S9 Plus) were revealed and were built with AI in mind, quite literally. Samsung’s virtual assistant – Bixby – is integrated tightly into the phone and allows for image recognition, translation, and is much more useful than the first edition of Bixby. New chips from Qualcomm and others were built to allow for AI processing and most manufacturers touted some kind of AI support. The real test of AI, beyond the spin, will be if computers can get smarter and faster in delivering seamless, personalized experiences to the consumers. If they are, then what we saw at MWC will live up to its hype….

Time will tell.

Other tidbits:  Oath announced AR ad formats, bezels on your smartphone are disappearing for good, Nokia re-released the banana phone, Android Go gained steam and there was a human-sized autonomous drone on display at Innovation City. The future is look faster and smarter than ever before.

 

Author: Joe Scartz | TPN Chief Digital Commerce Officer

Amazon Wants to Own Your Home

In the past several years Amazon has moved from your desktop to your mobile to your home speaker to your home broadly and now to your front door. Amazon is buying smart doorbell maker Ring for a reported $1 billion.

The move makes perfect sense as:

  1. Amazon continues to play a massive role in the smart home market and Ring was already integrated as a partner.
  2. Amazon probably arrives at your front door more than any other delivery service or friend or family member, (other than possibly the US Postal Service)
  3. They have already let it know that they want more frictionless entry into your home via Amazon Key for delivery

As Amazon continues their seemingly relentless quest to embed themselves into all the cracks of life, its evident that they are looking to enable everyone to shop as they go through their day, but obstacle-less delivery across the board. So in sum, Amazon has added a key element in the smart home ecosystem and a technology with an installed base that will further accelerate the user satisfaction and growth of their core e-commerce business.